Learn French with Netflix: A Kids Show Older Adults Love Too


One of the best ways to practice oral comprehension is to watch entertaining French movies. For instance:

Miraculous, les aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir
(“Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir” in English)

If you have young children or grandchildren, you might know about it already!

Miraculous is an animated superhero TV series that has been streaming on Disney Plus in the United States for a few years. And now, they’re adapting it as an animated movie.

The film version of this franchise gets released here in France on July 5th and will be available on Netflix in the US in just a few weeks.

Today, I’ll analyze the French used to give you some insights you may have missed as a non-native speaker.

C’est parti !

1) The trailer

Before we slowly break it down with a step-by-step analysis, watch la bande-annonce (= the trailer) for the movie:

French version:
Miraculous trailer (in French)

In English:
Miraculous trailer (in English)

If you want to follow along with the French trailer, here’s its full transcript and translation. Write down the expressions and vocabulary you find interesting and might want to remember.

Écoute, Marinette, on sait que tu as toujours été Miss Catastrophe.
Listen, Marinette. We know you’ve always been Miss Disaster.

C’est trop cool !
That’s so cool!

Mais là, ça se voit que tu as buggué.
But there, it’s clear you’ve bugged out.

Moi, j’ai bugué ?
Me, I bugged out?

Oui, tu as carrément flashé sur Adrien le tombeur.
Yes, you totally flashed on Adrien, the heartthrob.

Elle est vraiment étrange…
She’s really strange…

[Cet été]
[This summer]

Qu’est-ce qu’il se passe ?
What’s happening?

[Découvrez comment tout a commencé]
[Discover how it all started]

Tu es l’élue.
You are the chosen one.

Le sort du monde est entre tes mains.
The fate of the world is in your hands.

Oh, j’avais oublié que ça crie toujours à ce moment-là.
Oh, I had forgotten that it always screams at this moment.

Et toi, tu es censée être quoi ? Une pastèque ?
And you, what are you supposed to be? A watermelon?

Tu peux répéter ?
Can you repeat that?

[Le phénomène mondial]
[The global phenomenon]

Le chaos est la solution – je vais réduire le monde en cendres.
Chaos is the solution – I will reduce the world to ashes.

[Et, boom]
[And, boom]

[Pour la première fois au cinéma]
[For the first time in cinema]

Vous deux, vous devez vaincre le Papillon. Pour ça, il vous faut le combattre ensemble.
You two, you must defeat the Butterfly. For that, you need to fight him together.

J’suis prêt pour la bagarre.
I’m ready for the fight.

Cours !

C’est parti !
Let’s go!

Ça va, tout va bien ?
Are you okay? Is everything fine?

Nous sommes plus forts ensemble.
We are stronger together.

C’est Adrien que j’aime. Pas Chat Noir.
It’s Adrien that I love. Not Cat Noir.

Qui es-tu, Ladybug ?
Who are you, Ladybug?

Besoin d’un coup de main ?
Need a helping hand? / Need any help?

Mais qui sont ces deux héros ?
But who are these two heroes?

Je vous aurais, Ladybug et Chat Noir.
I will get you, Ladybug and Cat Noir.

“Encore heureux que Marinette soit à la maison.”
“Lucky that Marinette is at home.”

Attention !
Watch out!

Papa ? Maman ?
Dad? Mom?

Oh non je vais être en retard pour le dîner.
Oh no, I’m going to be late for dinner.”

Explaining some slang and everyday French:

  • “C’est trop cool !” = That’s too cool.“Trop” (= “too much”) is used in spoken French as a more intense “très” (= very).
  • “Mais là, ça se voit que tu as bugué.” = “Now, we can see you bugged out.” → In fast spoken French, the character eats some letters, and it sounds more like “Mais là, ça s’voit qu’t’as bugué.”
    Buguer” is an Anglicism for “to bug out, to glitch.” In less informal French, we’d say “Mais là, ça se voit que tu t’es figée.” (= Everyone can see that you froze.)

2) Step-by-step analysis

The scenes shown in this trailer are pretty faithful to French culture!

No, I don’t mean the superheroes and villains and explosions. But a lot of small things in the background and in the vocabulary they use.

a) Ladybug and its inspirations

Une coccinelle = a ladybug

Ladybug shares some traits with another famous French character: Fantômette, another black-haired French teenage girl with a secret identity. Her real name is “Françoise Dupont.”

Created in 1961 by writer Georges Chaulet, Fantômette (= “little ghost girl”) was a huge success. She appeared in fifty subsequent novels and a live-action series in the 90s.

The creators of Miraculous acknowledged this inspiration: Marinette’s school in Miraculous is called “Le collège Françoise Dupont.”

Click here to watch Fantômette on Youtube (official channel)

Le Papillon (= the butterfly), as the villain, is more reminiscent of Fantômas.

b) Outside and inside the school

Le collège de Marinette = Marinette’s grade school (for children between 11 and 15, more or less.)
(It’s not l’université / la fac = (American) college.)

Its design is based on un lycée (= a high school): le lycée Carnot, in Paris. Many schools in Paris and other French cities share that architecture: le style Jules-Ferry. It comes from the late 19th and early 20th century and is named after Jules Ferry, the famous politician of that time, who became very influential in creating French public schooling.

Click here to learn more: the “Jules Ferry laws” (Wikipedia)

Marinette’s school has a French flag on display, like all French public schools (and town halls.) French people rarely use a French flag to decorate, especially at home. In real life, the school should also have a flag of l’Union Européenne (the EU) and, more importantly, the French motto: “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.”

Many schools built at that time also kept their original name set in stone, mainly things like École de Garçons (= school for boys) or École de Filles (= school for girls). They’re not separated anymore, but the words in stone often stayed there anyway. Don’t be surprised if you find these mentions on old buildings when walking around Paris!


Le truc en plus :In the scene with Marinette’s school, you can also notice small windows from apartments inside the roofs of the old Parisian buildings. These small windows are also called “un chien assis” (= a sitting dog.) They provide ventilation and light to une chambre de bonne (= a “servant’s room”, servant’s quarters), small one-bedroom apartments that used to house domestic workers. Nowadays, these tiny apartments are commonly rented by students, young people, and anyone looking for a place to stay in Paris that’s not too expensive.


In the trailer, we can see a lesson of la flûte à bec (= a flute, a recorder, the musical instrument.) This instrument was the backbone of musical instruction in French schools until 2014. All French grown-ups have memories of playing the recorder (often badly) in school!

Then we get a glimpse of la bibliothèque (= the library), which looks gorgeous and very elegant, like a University library or the “Richelieu” building of the French National Library. Real French school libraries are most often much more modern and practical than that.

c) Ladybug in Paris

Marinette seems to fly above typical Parisian rooftops in zinc.

In the next scene, we can see:

  • Le Pont au Change (“money changers’ bridge”) – in real-life, the circles on the bridge are stone medallions decorated with the “N” of XIXth-century French emperor Napoléon III.
  • Le parc Rives-de-Seine, a public park and promenade alongside the river Seine. It used to be a fast lane for cars; it became a park for les piétons (= pedestrians) in 2017.
  • Une péniche (= a long barge.) These boats are a common sight in Paris. They transport cargo on the river or are used as houseboats and floating venues.

We also get glimpses of several Parisian monuments, such as:

  • La cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris – that’s now closed to the public since it burned down in 2019. Reopening is planned for 2024.
    • Une gargouille (= a gargoyle)
    • Un vitrail (= a stained glass window.)
  • La tour Eiffel – being struck by lightning, as it sometimes happens in real life.
  • La Bourse de Paris, the Paris Stock Exchange (or at least, the building that used to house it.)
  • Le pont de Bir-Hakeim, with le métro aérien on top (= part of the line where the metro is running outside, and passengers can enjoy a view of Paris), and under it, la promenade Jean-Paul Belmondo, the pedestrian promenade named after Jean-Paul Belmondo, the famous French actor.

Ladybug also fights in la fête foraine des Tuileries, a small carnival fair that opens every summer in the garden near the Louvre museum.

d) More French (and Parisian) culture

In the trailer, The police cars have a round, cartoonish design. To a French person, it looks like old comedy movies about law enforcement, like Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez. And about their vehicle, the Volkswagen Beetle – called la Coccinelle in French: the ladybug!

There are also mimes, which are a stereotype of French culture… But I don’t feel like they’re such a French thing! That cliché probably comes from le mime Marceau, who became famous in the 1950s and 80s.

Green boxes near the river are a nod to les bouquinistes, small second-hand bookshops near the Seine – and an iconic sight of Paris.

Finally, we have one of the best shots in French animation history: a giant rampaging croissant!

Scenes like this are relatively unusual in Paris, giant croissants very rarely go on rampages in the streets during the day. The scene around it looks very typical, however. The bus stop looks exactly like an actual Parisian bus stop. This one is near le Pont Neuf (= “new bridge”, Paris’s oldest bridge.)

In the background, a blurry red oval with white letters in the middle is the official sign of un buraliste, a small shop where you can legally buy cigarettes and tobacco, among other things. And finally, we also see un faux ami (= a false cognate) : “LIBRAIRIE” is a bookshop, and not une bibliothèque (= a library.)

All in all, Miraculous looks like an enjoyable movie for kids, made with heart and care and a love for the details of Parisian culture. It’s animated by a team of French, Korean and Japanese artists.


Le truc en plus:
For more creative, fun animated French short movies, I love to browse the works of the French School of Animation.
Click here to watch: ESMA YouTube Channel
For example: Graine de paresse (“Lazy Seed”) – ESMA 2022


And now, you can go and watch that movie – in French if you dare! Or keep practicing understanding spoken French with me.

Click here to get to your next lesson:

À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!

→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂

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Join the conversation!

  • Thank you for this episode! I’ve been watching you for c. 7 years, but I think this episode has to be one of my favorites of this past year. I had never heard of this “Miraculous” program, so it was brand new to me. It looks fantastic. Thank you so much for bringing it to the attention of myself and your other students. I also love all the extra historical and cultural tidbits that you pointed out about this show.

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